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If you are facing “Windows Media Player cannot play the file” error while opening an MP4 file, don’t lose your cool just yet. Although MP4 is a widespread media container, known for storing multiple video and audio streams, the older version of Windows Media Player can already support it.
Fortunately, the latest Windows Media Player supports select MP4 file formats, but not all. Read on to learn more about the error. Perhaps some concrete DIY solutions covered in this post will help you solve the problem.
Before you proceed, download and try a free media player like VLC that supports MP4. The movement will help determine whether the MP4 file can be played or not. If it works fine in VLC, obviously the other possible culprits are:
- There is a missing or unsupported audio/video codec responsible for the error.
- A virus infection or malware attack has infected the MP4 file.
- The video drivers are out of date or have bad sectors causing the error.
- Malware or virus infection in the system.
How to fix Windows Media Player not playing MP4 error?
1. Update Windows Media Player to the latest version
General updates can fix many performance and technical issues, as well as add new features to selective MP4 file formats. Apparently, Windows Media Player 10 and earlier cannot play MP4 videos. You need to update to the latest version 12 of Windows Media Player to play MP4 files smoothly on your Windows 10, 8 and 7 operating systems. Follow the steps to update to Windows Media Player 10:
- Guy characteristics on the Windows taskbar and select Turn Windows features on or off.
- Expand Multimedia Features, clear the Windows Media Player check box, and press OK to continue.
- Restart your Windows computer or laptop to remove the existing version of Windows Media Player.
- Once your system is back on, type characteristics on the taskbar and select Turn Windows features on or off.
- Expand Multimedia Features, select the Windows Media Player check box, and press OK.
- Reboot your PC to install the latest version of Windows Media Player on our system.
2. Install the corresponding codec to play MP4 files
Windows Media Player needs a relevant codec to play an MP4 file. Please install the relevant codecs or obtain a codec pack such as K-Lite or Media Player Codec Pack to resolve the error. The following steps will help you install MP4 codecs in Windows Media Player:
- Open Windows Media Player and go to Tools > Options > Players.
- In the Player tab under Automatic Updates, select the ‘once a day’ or ‘once a week’ option based on your requirement.
- Press OK to automatically install Windows Media Player codecs.
- Once you install the codecs successfully, MP4 video files will play easily on Windows Media Player.
3. Run the Windows Troubleshooter
If your MP4 file is still making it difficult for you to play, run the troubleshooter to fix the errors. Windows 10 and 11 provide you with built-in assistance to fix video playback errors. Follow these steps to fix the MP4 problem:
- Press Windows + I keys to open Settings in Windows 11 and select Updates & security.
- The action will open a new window. Click Troubleshoot on the left panel and Additional Troubleshooters.
- Scroll down until you find Video Playback. Click on it to select Run the troubleshooter.
Wait until the troubleshooter informs you about the cause of the error. Follow the suggested instructions to overcome the video error. In case you get a message saying no changes or updates are required, try other solutions to fix Windows Media Player won’t play MP4 files problem.
4. Change the file format to MP4
If an MP4 file is not supported by Windows Media Player on your computer or laptop, you can try to fix the problem by converting the file format. You can convert MP4 files to AVI, WMV, MOV or any other format that Windows Media Player supports. Check out online programs like CloudConvert or download free video conversion software available online. But beware of potential security issues like virus or malware attacks that come free with free download options.
5. Use another media player
If Windows Media Player doesn’t support your MP4 file, install a different media player like VLC that supports the MP4 format. It is a free and open source media player known for flawlessly playing almost any video file. Apart from VLC, you can also try Movies & TV apps, DivX Player, KMPlayer, 5K Player, RealPlayer, QuickTime, etc. All these media players are compatible with Windows 11 and Windows 10 and support 5K 1080p HD/ UHD MP4 video files. If you are a Windows 11 user, feel free to rely on your new default ‘Media Player’, which is an enhanced version of Windows Media Player in Windows 10.
Repair MP4 Files with Reliable Software
After trying all the methods mentioned above, if your MP4 file still fails when you try to play it in Windows Media Player, your video may be corrupted. Using reliable video repair software like Stellar Repair for Video, you can easily fix file corruption. Whether it is the file header, data, sound section or frames, the software can solve the problem and make the corrupted or inaccessible MP4 files playable again. You can easily download, install and use the software to repair severely corrupted video files. Here are the steps you need to follow to repair a severely damaged MP4 file:
1. Use the hyperlink to download the software. Install it on your system by following the instructions that appear on your screen after a successful download of the software.
2. Once the installation process is complete, a software window will open on your screen. Click the ‘Add File’ button and upload the corrupted MP4 file to repair it.
3. To add more files, click the Add File button again.
4. If the selected MP4 file is severely corrupted or damaged, the software will ask you to use ‘Advanced Repair’. If not, follow the regular steps suggested by the software.
5. Follow the instructions to continue with the advanced repair process:
- In the list of added videos, click the Advanced Repair link under the Action
- A dialog box will appear on your screen. Click the Next button to continue.
- Click Browse and select the desired MP4 file from its original location on your computer.
- Select the ‘Apply to all files of the same format’ option to repair the selected file.
- Click Repair to begin the repair process.
- A progress bar will indicate the status of the repair job in progress. If you want to stop the progress, click the Stop Now button.
- Once the repair process is complete, a dialog box will appear on your computer screen.
6. Click the Save Repaired Files button to keep the repaired files in a specific location on your computer. Click on the Preview button to make sure that your corrupted MP4 file has been successfully repaired.
A “Repair Process Complete” message will appear on the screen once your MP4 files are successfully repaired.
Videos are one of the most important resources for spreading education and communication with people residing in various parts of the world and undoubtedly a rich source of entertainment. Video creators experiment with new file formats and codecs from time to time to show their creativity. MP4 is one of the most common video file formats used today. Therefore, it is critical for users to learn what is causing MP4 files not to play in Windows Media Player error. Also, try a reliable video repair software like Stellar Repair for Video to resolve any kind of video file corruption issues.
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